Subject: Re: improving project maintainership
From: Zimran Ahmed <>
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002 20:20:45 -0800 (PST)

I don't see the need for this antagonism.

I met Stallman when he came to Chicago, and he was
*very* clear on where he stood vis a vis open source
and free software. Stallman beleives the four freedoms
to be inalienable--i.e. you cannot get rid of them
even if you want (just as you cannot sell yourself
into slavery)

(longer writeup here:

Now whether or not you agree with this is up to you. I
don't, but I respect RMS's position and I'm glad
someone's taking it.

> I mean to make the point that you are not opposed,
> in principle, to
> using non-free software when it advances the goals
> of the free
> software movement.

No--he *is* opposed to violating any of the four
freedoms on principle alone. It's very twisted logic
to argue using non-free tools to create a free
operating system (that would free you from using
non-free tools again) is somehow equivelent to using
non-free tools when plenty of free tools exist. Now,
your version of "plenty" may be different from RMS's,
but free software does not use non-free code as a
matter of principle, no matter what.

> community' are not a part of the free software
> movement.  If they
> were, then they would reject the use of non-free
> software just as you
> do.  They are instead, members of the open source
> community.

It was unclear to me what the real difference between
the two communities were until I heard RMS speak.
There is broad and general confusion between free
software and open source. There are people who claim
to be free software movement who are, infact, really
part of open source movement. Why is the distinction
between open source and free software important? RMS
will argue it's because the four freedoms should be
inalienable, a point that open source disagrees on.

The alienable/non-alienable distinction is the
clearest differentiator I can come up with that
doesn't degenerate into tedious semantic games about
"power" and "freedom."


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